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About The Dalles daily chronicle. (The Dalles, Or.) 1890-1948 | View Entire Issue (April 29, 1895)
THE DALLES, OREGON, MONDAY, APRIL .29 1895
Event of the Day the Turn
of Affairs in Nicaragua, r
SHREWD MOVE OF NICARAGUANS
AtMr tne Brlti.h - Bad Landed Tber
'- Abandoned the Town and Declared
Corinto m Closed Port.
Washington, April 27. The events of
the day in diplomatic circles here were
the landing of the British troops at
Corinto, the abandonment of the town
by the native officials and the popula
tion, and the shrewd move of the Nica
, raguans in declaring Corinto a closed
port. The 'first news of the event came
in the afternoon. Dr. Guzman bad
been waiting several hoars at the state
department to see Secretary Gresham.
He was in a fever of anxiety, and, in the
absence of news from his own govern
ment, came to learn what the depart
ment bad received as to the British
movements at Corinto. He was unable
to see the secretary this morniug, for
Mr. Gresham ' was suffering from a se- j
yere toothache and was obliged to pass
some time in the dentist's chair..
a . r :.. . 1 A.J Li.
borne for luncheon; and found there two
telegrams from bis government, for
warded from San Jnan del Sur, the
Nicaragnan cable port, about 125 miles
sooth of Corinto. The first cablegram j
Mated that the British troops had landed j
at Corinto, and that the British flag was
flying over' the town, which bad been
deserted by the Nicaragaan officials and
tne native innaoitants.. ine second
cablegram showed' that the authorities
had gone to ban Joan del Sur, cutting
the wires connecting the cable port .with
Corinto, so that the British forces at the
"latter place could not communicate with,
their home government except by send
ing a boat .to the cable etation. . The ,
' jaairi body of the Nicaraguans who. had
abandoned Corinto bad crossed a lagoon
which separates the town from the
mainland, and had strongly intrenched
themselves. . .This information was
promptly communicated to the state
Dr. Guzman, wbo has "been in ill
health and has suffered so from the ner
vous strain of the' last few weeks am to
be obliged to take to his bed I his after
noon, would not do so nntil he had gone
. through the rain to see Secretary Gresh
am and officially communicated the
substance of his cablegrams to him.
The news, it was apparent, was not ex
pected b the state department, which
had never believed that the Nicaraguans
- would go to the length of permitting the
occupation of Corinto in preference to
paying the indemnity. That the only
difficulty in the way of a speedy settle-
: ment ' of ' the trouble was that, arising
. from the trouble experienced by the
' Nicaraguan government' in 'raising the
money hastily, and that the British ad
miral would be indulgent on this point
when satisfied of the disposition of the
Nicaraguans to comply with the terms
. of the ultimatum.-otherwise bad never
been doubted by the department. For
this reason the first reports of the occu
pation of Coiinto received at the depart-
, ment from unofficial sources were dis
credited, and doubts expressed as to
their accuracy. The secretary bad been
unable to obtain any definite informa-
. tion from his own agents as to the action
. nt t It o Rritish nrnhaKlv inn -
"4hat Mr. Baker, our minister, is not at
present in that country, and there is no
. . charge at Managua. ' There is a consular
" agent at Corinto, Henry Palaxio, but - he
is not American, and could scarcely be
relied upon in a matter of this kind to
keep the department informed in the
absence of orders.
The situation at Corinto is now regard
Highest of all m 3eavemng Power.
A CV ...
ed as ominous of serious trouble, for the
dispatches indicate that the Nicaraguans
are disposed to resist any further ad
vance by the British.
The information reaching here is that
the Nicaraguans may further isolate the
British at Corinto by burning the
bridges across the lagoon separating the
town from the mainland. The" British
position is said to be very bad from a
strategic standpoint.' The town is prac
tically on an . island, being separated
from the mainland : by a stretch of
marshy ground,' This is traversed by
bridges, and those well informed on the
situation believe that if the British
make any movement to cross the lagoon
the bridges will be burned, and the little
band of Nicaragaan troops will , make a
stand against futher encroachments.
The British are evidently apprehen
sive of trouble on this score, as indicated
by the cablegrams from Colon, showing
that three vessels, the Royal Arthur,
the Wild Swan and the Satellite, have
been so placed as to command the town
with their guns. It is probable that
this disposition has been made so as to
insure the occupying forces, numbering
about 400 armed men, from an attack
from the Nicaraguans, rather than with
any deliberate purpose of bombarding
the town, for there is no evidence that
British desire to advance into the in
terior at present, and it is certain, y : not
a part of . the original . programme of
operations as made known to our
The news of the situation - at' Corinto
created a commotion here, and particu
larly in the state department.' Sir Julian
Pauncefote,the British ambassador ,came
to the department, and after remaining
in private consultation with Secretary
Gresham for a short time the two re
paired to the war department to consult
with Secretary Lampht. The latter was
absent at the time, but, coming in later,
repaired immediately to the state de
partment and talked over matters with
the president. ; Latter the news came to
the department by the press dispatches
from Colon that the Nicaragnan' govern
ment had made a sharp move by declar
ing Corinto a closed port. This was
evidently'a disturbing element in the
calculations, "for . Assistant ' Secretary
Uhl' was at once dispatched to the British
embassy to confer with Sir Julian Paun-
cefote, a most unusual proceeding in de
' . It was said at tne : embassy that Sir
Julian Pauncefote had not received con
firmation from the foreign office of the
British occupation of Corinto up to ' the
close of the embassy, at 3 o'clock.' The
embassy did not except direct informa
tion from London, as it is said the for
eign office has no occasion to communi
cate with the. British representative at
Washington. '-..' ' '
There can be no doubt that the action
of the -Nicaraguan government in de
claring Corinto a closed port has serious
ly complicated a most troublesome ques
tion, and even if there is no resort to
hostilities at present, it opens a prospect
of alarming events in the future, which
may, and in fact, are, even regarded as
likely to involve -the United States di
rectly in the affair, in spite of the earnest
disposition of the administration to
avoid the entanglement. The action
means that' no goods can now be entered
at Corinto, a port which has heretofore
received over half of the imports into
the country, without violating the
national law of Nicaragua. The British
may collect duties if any goods enter the
place, but the latter would, be liable to
seizure the moment ' thev crossed the
British lines into .the interior.' ' They
most do this to find a market, for 'the
coast, being unhealthy, is thinly popu
lated and the great consuming class of
the population lives in the interior.
..The first effect of the decree closing the
port, therefore, will probably be to divert
nearly all, if not the entire import trade
of the place to San Juan del Sur, or per'
haps Realajo, a seaport near by, for it is
improbable that many .merchants will
take the chances of getting their goods
into Nicaragua through the British lines
Juest U. S. Gov't Report .
under the circumstances. In this case,
the length of the stay of the British at
Corinto is problematical, conditional, as
it is," upon collecting enough revenue
from customs to make good the indem
Bat another consideration arises at
this point, for oar government has been
assured that the occupation will not be
permanent, and, indeed, tne first para
graph of the Clay ton-Bulwer treaty ex
pressly pledges Great Britain - against
occupation of Nicaragnan territory. - So
the problem will arise, how to collect the
indemnity within a reasonable time.
This may be settled summarily by sim
ply extending the occupancy and block
ade beyond Corinto, so as to include all
of the Pacific ports of Nicaragua. From
the disposition shown by the Nicara
guans at present, this can be done only
by force, and is likely to add very largely
to the expense incurred in the collection
of the ' indemnity, which items will
surely be added by . the British to the
original sum. This course, moreover,
will seriously embarrass the commerce
of the United States, and 'on this point
Great Britain baa given Secretary Gres
ham certain assurances of the manner in
which the British may be sure of attain
ing their ends by a prompt declaration
of war and an invasion of Nicaragua, in
volving the capture of the capital, Ma
nagua, and. the imposition , upon the
Nicaraguans of the British terms as the
price of peace. ' '!
It may be that the British government
will be driven to the latter course in thq
interest of trade, our own as well as that
of her own. merchants, which she - is
bound to safeguard. If goods entered at
Corinto, after payment of 'duty to the
French occupants, should be seized in
the interior, the owners, British or
American, would have eyery claim for
reparation. The only, question is as to
whose duty it would be to secure this;
whether the United States would feel
bound to intervene in the case of an
American merchant in such case, and
therein lies one of the' features, which
may involve our country directly in the
dispute. ; ': ,0 .. , '. ,' .
It has been asserted as a bard and fast
rule of international law that duties can
not be twice collected,; and bur own gov
ernment has taken an advanced position
on' this question. At one time, when'
the diplomatic relations between Great
Britain and Mexico were interrupted
and a revolutionary movement was in
progress in the latter country, a British
ship, entering one of the revolutionary
ports of Mexico, paid duties upon her
goods to the insurgents. Afterward the
Mexican govern mont again assessed the
duties upon the same goods, holding
the insurgents had no authority to make
the' first collection, and refusing to re
cognize it. The . British minister, Sir
Edward Thornton, appealed to our
country, Great Britain haying no repre
sentative in Mexico, to secure the re
lease of the goods from this imposition!
We acted very promptly and obliged the
Mexicans to release the goods .and to
acknowledge the principle that the
duties cannot be twice levied.
This case differs in many important,
features from the present one, ths clo
sure of Corinto, and it is difficult to as
certain the application of international
law in this case, although the general
broad principle would seem to be simi
lar. . ' - -.' ;
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